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McCain Solicits Russian U.N. Ambassador

By Colum Lynch
NEW YORK -- Sen. John McCain, straining to match Sen. Barack Obama's fundraising juggernaut, inadvertently reached out to an unlikely donor: Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin.

The Russian mission to the United Nations furnished a copy of a Sept. 29 campaign letter it received urging Churkin to contribute up to $5,000 to "stop the Obama Democrats from seizing control of the entire federal government."

"Please know this -- we will not concede any region to the Democrats," the letter states.

The Russian mission issued a statement saying "we have received a letter from Senator John McCain with a request for a financial donation to his presidential election campaign. In this respect we have to reiterate that neither Russia's permanent mission to the United Nations, nor the Russian government or its officials finance political activities in foreign countries."

It is illegal for an American political candidate to accept campaign contributions from a foreign government. "It was just a mistake. We don't solicit folks who can't give," said McCain-Palin spokesman Brian Rogers. Asked whether there were any other ambassadors that they planned to solicit, Rogers laughed and said, "I hope not. Maybe we'll find out tomorrow."

Diplomats from several other powerful nations said that they do not believe that they had receive any financial appeals from either Obama or McCain. "He must have been really desperate," said one European official, when informed of McCain's Russian appeal.

The McCain letter tells Churkin, "I am reaching out to you to ask you to sign and return the enclosed 2008 Pledge of Support along with a campaign contribution of $35, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $2,500 or even $5,000 to the McCain-Palin Victory 2008."

McCain criticizes Obama for recklessly supporting an "unconditional timeline" for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq -- a position that Churkin supports -- and warns that he would increase the size of the federal government and support massive tax hikes -- issues that have little resonance with Russian nationals.

McCain's letter makes no reference to U.S policy toward Russia. McCain, however, has been sharply critical of Russia's recent military intervention into Georgia, a close political ally of the United States that shares a border with Russia. McCain has called for Russia to be ejected from the Group of Eight industrialized powers.

McCain's tough approach has infuriated Russian leaders. Last month, Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, took a swipe at McCain's foreign policy adviser, Henry Kissinger, saying he knew nothing about Georgia and the two breakaway provinces that Russia recently recognized as independent.

"I talked to Henry Kissinger this morning," Lavrov told a gathering at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan at a September 24 speech. "He didn't know the history. He didn't know the history of how Abkhazia and South Ossetia became part of the Russian Empire, entirely independent of Georgia."

"He didn't know the history of the Soviet Union being created and Abkhazia being one of the constituent republics, with the same rights, with the same status as Georgia. And he didn't know that it was Stalin who put Abkhazia inside Georgia, who cut Ossetia in two and left, put, gave South Ossetia to Georgia and left Northern Ossetia in Russia. He didn't know that for Abkhazians and Ossetians, when they were brought by Stalin inside Georgia, inside the Soviet Union, it was very difficult to get a decent career unless they Georgianized their names."

Staff writer Michael D. Shear contributed to this report.

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 20, 2008; 4:39 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain , The Green Zone  
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Bradcpa, Flavio and I think your comment was funny. Red state, huh?

So the GOP used McCain to solicit funds and accidently sent some they shouldn't have.

It sounds like the Left hand doesn't know what the Right hand is doing.

Posted by: sea_lyon | October 22, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

So, does this now reveal McCain to be the Socialist?

Ivan MykKeyn 08
"You bring vote, I bring vodka"

Posted by: bokonon13 | October 20, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

How the hell do you send a letter like that by mistake to the Russian embassy?

McCain said he's not Bush, but he's acting a lot like George.

Maybe Palin was stuffing envelopes.

Posted by: seemstome | October 20, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

bradcpa: "I guess that gives new meaning to solicting support from a Red State."

Nice one! Very funny!

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 20, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

How about reporting how Obama's received 37,000 donations that required conversion into US dollars?

No can do, I guess. But a mis-addressed envelop is front-page news.

Posted by: info42 | October 20, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

One mistake after another.

Wasn't it McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis that said this issue isn't going to be about issues but rather a "composite view" of the candidates.

Well that view right now is that Obama doesn't make mistakes like this and the McCain camp seems to make them habitually.

Posted by: jelow | October 20, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

So according to McCain, Russia is evil and....must be stopped.

Unless they decide to pay off the McCain campaign. Then we forget about "we're all Georgians now" and toast with a shot of vodka.

McCain has no principles, no shame, and no decency.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 20, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Boy, McCain really is hard up for cash for his flailing campaign.

McCain is fond of saying that when he looked into Putin's eyes he only saw "K and G and B," but with Senator Obama raising more than $150 million in September, apparently McCain is willing to overlook that whole evil empire thing and say H and E and L and P to anyone he can.

Posted by: DrainYou | October 20, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny stuff!

The McCain camp soliciting money from in McCain's words, "The KGB!"

Ha! Ha!

Posted by: AJ2008 | October 20, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Heehee. That pinko, socialist, commie, fellow travlers crap might have worked in the 1950s.....come to think of it maybe McCain was thinking about his youth....


Posted by: toritto | October 20, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I guess that gives new meaning to solicting support from a Red State.

Posted by: bradcpa | October 20, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

McCain: "Communism! Get your RED HOT Communism right here!"

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 20, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

There is still a very good chance,
that us ignorant uneducated
simpletons, just might
vote the distiquished Freshman
senator from Illinois,
back to Illinois, to get the
experience he needs.
You cannot buy an american election,
even with money and media and matt damon,
and bruce springsteen....
come live in american you elitist's....
you just fly over the real america
on your way to your egomanical
self effacing displays of intolerance.
Jon Stewart, you have no soul.

Posted by: USA3 | October 20, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

sad thing,
the russians would have
just sent obama a few hundred
small donations...
from "'dkufls' dielef' suk, ME"
obama wins Putin Wins,
Ukraine loses'

Posted by: USA3 | October 20, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

This IS Funny!

Considering all these conservadrones are posting about "socialism" and "communism".

You Republicbots played the communism card, and this is what you get.


Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 20, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

...geez...imagine if Obama's campaign did that??


Posted by: toritto | October 20, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I got one word for you.....


Posted by: johnnycaffeine | October 20, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

McCain: "Communism! Get your RED HOT Communism right here!"

Posted by: thenotoriousflavio | October 20, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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